The universe has a personal cause, since God created the universe and God is personal. But does the “principle of determination” demonstrate that the cause of the big bang must be personal, or must we rely on other reasons for maintaining this? I’m currently (although tentatively) inclined towards the latter. Continue reading “Does the principle of determination show that the universe had a personal cause?”
Here it is, the last podcast episode for 2011. This time I’m looking at “the “evil god challenge” as posed by Stephen Law in a fairly recent article by that name. Isn’t the evidence for a good God really no better or worse than the evidence that an evil god? In short, no. Here I explain why I think (as I suspect many may think) that the evil god challenges has major philosophical shortcomings, in spite of being an argument worthy of our attention.
This episode asks the question: “What is Faith”? Is it, as some maintain, just believing things for no good reason? When Christian thinkers over the years have spoken of having faith, what have they been talking about? Listen and find out!
At the end of this episode I ask listeners if they have any suggestions for scholars that I might interview in future episodes. Be sure to speak up if you have any ideas!
In Episode 41, I address a common objection to divine command ethics: Does the fact that non-believers can still know moral truths and live moral lives somehow show that morality is not in any way grounded in God’s will or commands? Here I survey some crude versions of this argument and then offer some comments on a more recent presentation of the objection by Wes Morriston.
NOTE: In this episode I call it episode 40. It’s not. It’s episode 39.
The podcast is back. Actually, episode 39 was going to be on another topic, but then someone suggested this one to me, so as I already had a document called “episode 039” I called this “document 040.” And then when I started recording it I thought – “Hey, this is the 40th episode. Cool!” and I made a big deal of it in the recording. And then after I uploaded it I realised that since I skipped over the episode 39 that I’m writing, this isn’t really 40 at all, it’s episode 39! So that was an epic fail.
So no sooner do I release another podcast episode, I am making excuses for it! This episode is based on a lecture on divine command ethics that I gave a few years ago at the University of Otago. Enjoy!
Recently there has been some discussion here about the moral argument for theism, with a couple of correspondents announcing with great certainty (but unfortunately little else) that the argument is just terrible. I beg to differ. Today I appeared on an episode of the Unbelievable? radio show, hosted by Justin Brierley (actually we did two shows), and the other guest was atheist Arif Ahmed.
I’ll have some more things to say about the show another time (these discussions always leave one wishing that more had been said, or “I wish I had thought of this reply at the time!”, plus there are the inevitable structures of the radio show itself). For now, however, I just want to present the version of the moral argument that I used. What follows is the “prepared” version, as though I were giving a presentation on the argument – a very simple presentation, intended for a radio audience consisting of laypeople. Of course, in a discussion style radio show it wasn’t presented as one continuous explanation like this, and plenty of parts were left out. Time is short on such occasions, so not everything gets said. But you get to read it anyway 🙂 Here it is: Continue reading “A simple explanation of the moral argument”
Here’s episode 36, in honour of the recent retirement of Alvin Plantinga as the John O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. It’s sort of a “nuts and bolts” podcast episode on Alvin Plantinga, introducing the listener to his account of belief in God as a properly basic belief – a belief justifiably held, but not held on the basis of evidence or argument.
So-called new atheist Sam Harris maintains that moral values are really scientific facts, and that they have no connection to God (indeed, God does not exist, thinks Harris).
Episode 35 is an analysis of a recent talk given by Harris gave on science and human values. The talk was part of a TED conference, and you can see it here. Here I offer an explanation of how I think he has failed. In brief, I think his entire presentation is an exercise in circular reasoning.
Harris has a new book on the subject, The Moral Landscape, which is to be released later this year.
The last month has been pretty crazy for me: changing job and moving house being among the main culprits for this state of affairs. But after much ado, here it is, Episode 15! This time I’m asking a simple question: Why be an atheist? And if you’re not one, why become one? And if you are one, why try to persuade other people to become one?
I’ve started a new trend with this episode. Some previous episodes were just too long for a lot of listeners, so I’m making a fairly strict rule that episodes shall not exceed forty minutes. This one’s just under twenty eight minutes, so I’m off to a good start. Also, I’ll only be putting episodes up each fortnight rather than weekly, just because I don’t have quite as much time as I did before – plus with all these people downloading an episode every week I literally couldn’t afford the bandwidth!
So here it is, enjoy. As always, comments either here or by email to be discussed on the show are more than welcome.